A rapidly changing climate has the potential to interfere with the timing of environmental cues that ectothermic organisms rely on to initiate and regulate life history events. Short‐lived ectotherms that exhibit plasticity in their life history could increase the number of generations per year under warming climate. If many individuals successfully complete an additional generation, the population experiences an additional opportunity to grow, and a warming climate could lead to a demographic bonanza. However, these plastic responses could become maladaptive in temperate regions, where a warmer climate could trigger a developmental pathway that cannot be completed within the growing season, referred to as a developmental trap. Here, we incorporated detailed demography into commonly used photothermal models to evaluate these demographic consequences of phenological shifts due to a warming climate on the formerly widespread, multivoltine butterfly (Pieris oleracea). Using species‐specific temperature‐ and photoperiod‐sensitive vital rates, we estimated the number of generations per year and population growth rate over the set of climate conditions experienced during the past 38 years. We predicted that populations in the southern portion of its range have added a fourth generation in recent years, resulting in higher annual population growth rates (demographic bonanzas). We predicted that populations in the northeastern US have experienced developmental traps, where increases in the thermal window initially caused mortality of the final generation and reduced growth rates. These populations may recover if more growing degree days are added to the year. Our framework for incorporating detailed demography into commonly used photothermal models demonstrates the importance of using both demography and phenology to predict consequences of phenological shifts.